David J. Hutson, Ph.D.

I am an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Penn State University-Abington in the Psychological and Social Sciences Program.


My research explores the connection between appearance and social status with a focus on the body, gender, health, and inequality. More specifically, I seek to understand how factors such as body weight, body size, muscle tone, and attractiveness influence an individual’s opportunities in social life. Much of my research utilizes the framework of “bodily capital”—a multi-faceted concept that explains why individuals invest time, energy, and money into their bodies, and what they expect to receive in return. To investigate these processes, I examine cases of bodily change, as people alter how they look through activities such as exercise, dieting, weight loss, bodybuilding, clothing choices, and surgery.


Currently, I am concluding a project interviewing pregnant and recently pregnant women about the experience of putting on and trying to take off “baby weight,” and beginning a new study on men who have undergone bariatric surgery.


Research Interests: Health & Fitness; Medical Sociology; Body/Embodiment; Gender; Inequality; Culture; Qualitative Methods.

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